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Episode No. 52:

“The Devil And Peter Tork”

At a sleazy pawn shop, Peter unwittingly sells his soul to
a devilish character in order to purchase a golden harp.

Vital Stats, Credits and Releases On Home Video:

Production No. 4737
Revised Final Draft: April 26, 1967
Filmed At: Screen Gems Studios, Hollywood, CA, on location in Los Angeles, CA, and at Fred Niles Film Studios, Chicago, IL.
Filming Dates: May 2-4, 1967 (this episode); August 2, 1967 (musical numbers)
Original Air Date: February 5, 1968
Ratings: 17.7 rating/27.7 share (9,910,000 viewers)
© Raybert Productions; 2-5-68; LP37623
Sponsor This Week:
Yardley Of London™
Rerun Dates: July 29, 1968 (NBC); February 14 and December 5, 1970, July 31, 1971, March 18, 1972 (CBS); March 3, 1973 (ABC)

Teleplay by Robert Kaufman and Gerald Gardner & Dee Caruso; Story by Robert Kaufman.
Directed by James Frawley.
Produced by Robert Rafelson & Bert Schnieder.
Associate Producer: Gerald S. Shepard.
Production Executive: Ward Sylvester.
Background Music Composed and Conducted by Stu Phillips.
"No Time" Written by Hank Cicalo; Produced by Douglas Farthing Hatlelid.
"Salesman" Written by Craig Smith; Produced by Douglas Farthing Hatlelid.
Guest cast:

Blackbeard.......................................................................Ted DeCorsia
Roy Bean...............................................................................Billy Beck
Billy The Kid.......................................................................Peter Canon
Atilla The Hun......................................................................Lee Kolima
Monty Landis as Mr. Zero

Home Video Releases:
  • The Monkees - Volume 6 (Musicvision VHS #60811/Beta #20811, June 25, 1987)
  • The Monkees: The Collector's Edition - VHS Tape #3 (Columbia House #13692, May 22, 1995)
  • The Monkees Deluxe Limited Edition Boxed Set - VHS Tape #10 (Rhino R3 2960, October 1995)
  • The Monkees - Season 2 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 4 (Rhino RetroVision DVD R2 970128, November 18, 2003)
  • The Monkees - Season 2 DVD Boxed Set - Disc 4 (Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD EM351369, September 27, 2011)
  • The Monkees - The Complete Series - Blu-Ray Disc 7 (Rhino BD2-552705, July 8, 2016)

Synopsis:

Peter looks through the window S. Zero’s Pawn Shop and enters calling for Zero. S. Zero pops up immediately and startles Peter, who commends him on his instruments, which Zero states are representative of the lives of musicians who have fallen on bad times, and have remained unclaimed. Upon Zero's urging, Peter looks around--and he comes across a golden harp and falls in love with it. Although he doesn’t have any money, Peter insists he’ll give anything for the harp and Mr. Zero produces a contract for Peter to sign in exchange for the harp. Peter signs the contract without even reading it and Mr. Zero informs him he can play now and pay later. Then Mr. Zero makes reservations over a red phone for Peter’s soul which he has just purchased!

Back at the pad, Micky, Michael and David remind Peter that he can't play the harp and urge him to return it since it takes up space. Then suddenly, Zero appears in a puff of smoke and tells Peter he can play the harp and when he does, he plays beautifully. Mr. Zero disappears and the others are surprised at how well he can play and decide to use the harp. Soon Harry's Booking Agency comes calling and the boys are immediately booked into a harp act, which is an instant overnight success! But the following evening, as The Monkees pore over mailsacks full of offers and fan letters from Chicago, London and New York City, Zero appears again and presents the contract he signed which reveals that Peter signed a contract with The Devil offering his soul, which is to be delivered by midnight. Peter states he doesn't believe in devils; Micky thinks it's all an elaborate put-on. Then to prove he’s Satan, with a few snaps of his fingers, Zero makes Micky's chair collapse under him, David's shirt disappear, and a broom appear in Michael's hand, which has them convinced! Zero at first wants to deliver Peter's soul four hours early at 8:00, as it is a way to "beat the cross-town traffic!", but, at Michael's behest, he decides to wait until the proper time. Then, restoring Michael, Micky and David to normal, he disappears again. The guys try to reassure Peter that there’s nothing to worry about but Peter is as scared as heck. With a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder, a musical fantasy set to "Salesman" begins, in which Zero, with horns and a tail, and his handmaidens, with pitchforks, chase The Monkees through smoke and flame, finally making them his personal demons! Returned to reality and their pad, The Monkees realize that the one thing that's more scary than Hell is saying it on television!

When zero hour arrives, Micky prepares to exorcise the devil with a stake through the heart to protect Peter, but it becomes a feather when Zero appears. Frightened, the boys try to delay Zero (David even offers to take Peter's place!), but Zero is adamant on his contract with Peter. A tug-of-war between Zero and Micky and David for Peter commences until Michael intervenes, stating that can't stop Zero and his contract but he doesn't believe it's valid, and proceeds to take it to court. Zero consents, and with a clap of his hands, The Monkees' beach pad becomes a bizarre underworld courtroom, where Hanging Judge Roy Bean presides with a jury consisting of 12 condemned men from Devil's Island. Mr. Zero presents his first witness, gun-toting Billy The Kid, with whom he signed a contract with Mr. Zero in 1882 for his soul in exchange of becoming the most famous gunfighter in The West. When Michael attempts to cross examine him, he ends up being intimated by the outlaw and quickly backs off. Zero’s next witness is Blackbeard The Pirate, and David tries to cross examine him only to wind up getting seasick when the pirate tells him about life on the sea. The last witness is Atilla The Hun with whom Micky tries to cross examine which ends up being an argument in Mongolian, and when Atilla tries to pounce on Micky, Michael stops him with words in Mongolian--which he doesn’t understand!

Peter seems doomed until Michael, his defense attorney, calls his first witness: Mr. Zero to the stand; he rejects David’s offer to place his hand on The Bible. Michael cross-examines Mr. Zero, who claims he gave Peter the ability to play the harp for his soul. However, Michael contradicts his claims giving a moving speech that Peter's ability to play the harp arose from his love of music, not Zero's power, since love is power. Mr. Zero laughs at Michael’s claims and, taking Peter’s ability away with a clap of his hands, he presents the harp and dares Peter to try to perform now. Michael persuades Peter to play the harp reminding him that the power is inside him—a power nobody can give to him nor take away. Then Peter manages to play the song "I Wanna Be Free" as evidence to Michael's claim, beautifully moving the judge and the jury, and he is found not quilty. The guys rejoice as a thwarted Mr. Zero disappears back into Hell and the judge asks Peter if he knows “Melancholy Baby” as they guys become friendly with the jury.

Tag Sequence:

The Monkees celebrate with their hip rendition of "No Time."

Passage rendered by Robert Rafelson @ the end of "The Devil And Peter Tork's" teaser sequence:

Soul. Some say it's a man's harp for a spirit. Certainly without it, we cannot survive, for no man can live without love.

Production Notes:

Contrary to popular belief, this episode (the fifth completed for the second season), was held back from telecast by NBC due to its satirical jabs at network censorship--the word "hell"--rather than the lyrical content of the song "Salesman". Note that a distinct "cuckoo" is heard when Michael, David and Micky utter the word (or try to, anyway!). Previous "censored" Monkees episodes wherein a "cuckoo" replaced an offending expletive are No. 15, “Too Many Girls” (a.k.a. "Davy And Fern") and the closing moments of the previous episode, "The Monkee's Paw".

Trivia Footnote: Craig Smith, composer of "Salesman", was considered for a role on The Monkees in 1965, but was unavailable for an interview. 

The late writer/actor/producer Robert Kaufman wrote episodes for Combat! (ABC, 1962-67) and screenplays for such films as Dr. Goldfoot And The Bikini Machine (American-International, 1965; it features a cameo by HEAD co-star Annette Funicello as a Girl in dungeon), its sequel, Dr. Goldfoot And The Girl Bombs (American-International, 1966), and I Love My Wife (Universal, 1970; he also served as associate producer and appeared in a bit part as Devil), which features Monkee guest Heather North (“The Prince And The Paupers”) as Betty. Kaufman also produced the flop 1973 ABC-TV sitcom Here We Go Again (which co-starred Monkee guest alum Nita Talbot ["The Monkees Watch Their Feet"] as Judy Evans), and later on executive-produced She's Out Of Control (Columbia, 1989), which starred Ami Dolenz, Micky's daughter.

Shockingly, Peter Tork played not one lick of music on the harp! He mimed the harp, and all of the harp pieces heard in this segment—including the solos of "I Wanna Be Free" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday"—recorded by another musician, were dubbed in.

The scenes in S. Zero's Pawn Shop were filmed on the set previously used in "The Spy Who Came In Fom The Cool" as Madame Olinsky (Arlene Martel)'s music store/front for enemy spies.

Screen Gems' original storyline for "The Devil And Peter Tork" reveals an alternate ending which finds Peter at the same pawnshop, this time eyeing a French horn. As the proprietor approaches him to make a deal, Micky, Michael and David rush Peter out of the shop. The synopsis also relveals a deleted scene where Mr. Zero pricking Peter's finger and making him sign the contract in blood, and a deleted portioin of the musical romp in which The Monkees are forced to dance until they drop!

The shot during the "No Time" number of The Monkees dancing a hilarious can-can is used as the final clip in The Monkees' second season opening sequence (with the "jagged" Monkees logo superimposing over them). Other clips from "The Devil And Peter Tork" which were edited into The Monkees' second season opening titles features Micky doing a double take, then smiling.

The Monkees' third album The Monkees' Headquarters gets its final plug on The Monkees TV show with the presence of "No Time" in "The Devil And Peter Tork." Since Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, LTD. was all the rage in stores nationwide, The Monkees' Headquarters, though prominently showcased in several redubbed summer 1967 Season-1 repeats, saw promotion in only a handful of first-run second-season segments: this and Episode No. 34, "The Picture Frame" (a.k.a. "The Bank Robbery"), No. 36, "Monkee Mayor", No. 37, "Art For Monkee's Sake", and No. 38, I Was A 99-lb. Weakling" (a.k.a. "Physical Culture"). "No Time" and “Randy Scouse Git” are the only two tunes from The Monkees' Headquarters to be used in first-run Monkees episodes.

In this episode, Robert Rafelson and Bert Schneider are credited as producers for the 49th and final time on The Monkees TV series, and Ward Sylvester recieves his final credit as production executive. Also, music producer Chip Douglas recieves credit as Douglas Farthing Hatlelid one more time.

After this episode aired, canned laughter was never heard on The Monkees TV series again---well, maybe except for a brief cue of boisterous laughter heard in Episode No. 55, "The Monkees Mind Their Manor".

CBS/ABC Saturday Afternoon repeats of "The Devil And Peter Tork" found its soundtrack remixed to feature "I Never Thought It Peculiar."

The 1986 Colex-syndicated print of "The Devil And Peter Tork" grafted the opening titles from Episode No. 54, "The Monkees In Paris" (a.k.a. "The Paris Show").

The shots of Peter lugging his harp home through city streets at the end of "The Devil And Peter Tork"'s teaser were all done in beautiful downtown Burbank.

"The Devil And Peter Tork" was the final episode of The Monkees TV series to edit musical numbers shot at Fred Niles' Film Studios in August 1967.

Trivia Notes:

Based loosely on Stephen Vincent Benét's fantasy novel (and the Oscar-winning 1941 RKO movie it spawned) The Devil And Daniel Webster (1938). "The Devil And Peter Tork" was the fourth and final Monkees episode to be based on a fantasy novel, following Episode No. 21, “The Prince And The Paupers”, No. 40, "Monkees Marooned", and the previous segment, "The Monkee's Paw".

Jonathan Darby Nesmith, Michael's second son, was born on the day prior to "The Devil And Peter Tork"'s telecast on NBC.

"The Devil And Peter Tork" recieved an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement In A Comedy Series For 1967-68; sadly, it lost out to the Bruce Bilson-directed "Maxwell Smart, Private Eye" segment of Get Smart (NBC/CBS, 1965-70). Ironically, Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso, the writing team who cowrote this and several other Monkees episodes, composed several episodes of Get Smart prior to writing for The Monkees! (Is it any coincidence that three of their previous Monkees scripts, Episode No. 5, "The Spy Who Came In Fom The Cool," No. 17, “The Case Of The Missing Monkee”, and No. 26, “Monkee Chow Mein”, were spy-oriented??)

As Peter lugs the harp home through Los Angeles at the end of "The Devil And Peter Tork"'s teaser sequence, look out for a car advertising Los Angeles' own KGIL-AM 1260. Until 1997, KGIL had been The Beatles' station in L.A.

"The Devil And Peter Tork's" final seconds finds the boys quoting the famous closing lines of The Cisco Kid (Syndicated, 1950-56).

This is the fourth and final time on the series The Monkees are seen choosing fingers to decide which one of them goes. Others are Episode No. 2, “Monkee See, Monkee Die”, No. 28, “The Monkees On The Line”, and No. 29, “The Monkees Get Out More Dirt”.

This is the ninth of 10 Monkees episodes in which Mike Nesmith is called Michael (aside from his credit in the show's end titles). Others are No. 34, "The Picture Frame" (a.k.a. "The Bank Robbery"), No. 36, "Monkee Mayor", No. 40, "Monkees Marooned", No. 42, "The Wild Monkees", No. 45, "The Monkees In Texas", No. 47, "The Monkees Christmas Show", No. 48, "Fairy Tale", No. 50, "The Monstrous Monkee Mash", the previous episode, "The Monkee's Paw", and the next, "The Monkees Race Again" (a.k.a. "Leave The Driving To Us").

In their disguises as demons in the "Salesman" musical sequence, The Monkees are seen wearing their Monkeeman capes.

Micky was previously seen as Billy The Kid in a fantasy sequence of Episode No. 10, “Here Come The Monkees” (Original Pilot Film).

For the fourth time on The Monkees TV series a courtroom pops up, following previous appearances in Episode No. 14, “Dance, Monkee, Dance”, No. 34, "The Picture Frame" (a.k.a. "The Bank Robbery"), and No. 43, "A Coffin Too Frequent". Here, The Monkees once more act on their own behalf in court, as they did in "The Picture Frame"; every other time, a courtroom was a featured part of a Monkee fantasy sequence.

The feather which replaces the stake in Micky's hands when Mr. Zero appears in The Monkees' pad is the exact same quill which Peter used to sign Zero's contract in "The Devil And Peter Tork"'s prologue.

Micky repeats his "Semi-crosseyed rage" take in Episode No. 55, "The Monkees Mind Their Manor".

The two headlines seen here, "MONKEE HARP IS HAPPENING" and "MONKEE HARP A HIT," are both prominently displayed on the newspaper The Hollywood Evening Star--"A Newspaper Dedicated To The Losers Of The World."

When David tells Mr. Zero to raise his right hand and put his left hand on The Bible, Zero replies by rendering Jones' trademark catchphrase: "You must be joking."

The first CBS Saturday Afternoon repeat of "The Devil And Peter Tork"---February 14, 1970 (St. Valenine's Day)---occurred 1 day after Peter Tork's 28th birthday.

The Playboy bunny serving drinks during the "Salesman" sequence is reminiscent of a certain running gag in Episode No. 30, “The Monkees In Manhattan” (a.k.a “The Monkees Manhattan Style”)

Guest Cast Notes:

Peter Canon (Billy The Kid), Ted DeCorsia (Blackbeard The Pirate) and Lee Kolima (Atilla The Hun) had previous guest shots on The Monkees: Canon as the bully whom David knocks senseless in the teaser of Episode No. 20, "The Monkees In The Ring," DeCorsia as seaman Frank Reynolds in Episode No. 44, "Hitting The High Seas," and Kolima, Yakimoto in Episode No. 5, "The Spy Who Came In Fom The Cool."

Ted DeCorsia was also previously featured in several TV episodes with pre-Monkee guests: with Burt Mustin ("Monkees Marooned", "The Monkees Christmas Show") in a February 27, 1964 episode of Dr. Kildaire (NBC, 1961-66), "Why Won't Anybody Listen?" (#6946); with Booth Coleman (“The Spy Who Came In From The Cool”) in a a 2-part episode of Daniel Boone (NBC, 1964-70), "Cain's Birthday" (#7426, April 1 & 8, 1965); and with Jim Boles (“Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth”, "Hillbilly Honeymoon" [a.k.a. "Double Barrell Shotgun Wedding"]) in 2 episodes of Get Smart: "Back to the Old Drawing Board" (January 29, 1966) and "When Good Fellows Get Together" (November 18, 1967).

Billy Beck (Roy Bean) previously appeared with Charles Macaulay (HEAD) in a December 3, 1963 episode of Combat!, "Ambush."

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